Galloway joined multiple organizations that have already requested Parson make such a mandate and enact stricter guidelines on isolation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor has thus far refrained from doing so, instead letting communities enforce their regulations.
“A statewide stay-at-home order is necessary because we have a limited window to take steps that will lessen the surge on our healthcare system and that window is closing rapidly,” Galloway said in a statement. “Continuing to wait only delays the inevitable. Failure to address the immediate threat to public health will undermine our economic recovery. Public health experts, front-line hospital workers, and medical professionals have provided clear guidance on what our state needs to do to make it through this crisis. We are all in this together. I know Missourians will rise to this unprecedented challenge and emerge stronger from it.”
Among other organizations calling for a statewide order are the Missouri State Medical Association, the Greene County Medical Society, leaders in both Kansas City and St. Louis, members of the clergy, and various editorial writers for publications across Missouri.
Thirty states, including Washington D.C., have stay at home orders in place in some formal capacity in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
When asked about Galloway’s request at his daily press briefing Tuesday, Parson said:
“Here’s what I would suggest right now: I would say the state auditor needs to worry about being the state auditor right now. Elected officials need to have one thing in mind right now, what can we do to help with the COVID-19 situation. This is not the time to play politics out of this issue.”
“I realize that coronavirus will spread, but those decisions will be made daily,” Parson told reporters. “Now I think the most important thing you can do, regardless of the other orders out there: less than 10 people, 6 ft. apart, and you’ve gotta maintain that. If you don’t need to be out, stay at home.”
More than 1,300 Missourians have been diagnosed with coronavirus thus far, and 14 people have died. Although he hasn’t enacted a statewide stay at home mandate, Parson did unveil a social distancing order, discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people, on March 21. He’s also been critical of large groups of people who have congregated in state parks as the weather has warmed.
The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” while the disease is called “coronavirus disease 2019,” or “COVID-19.” It can cause severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned.
There have been more than 163,500 cases confirmed cases in the U.S., and 2,860 deaths, according to the CDC. Several hundred people in Missouri have been tested.
The DHSS has opened a public hotline operated by medical professionals around the clock seven days a week. The hotline number is 877-435-8411.